Joan of Arc's ashes to go under the microscope.

Joan of Arc, who was burnt to death by the English in 1431, is to have her ashed examined under microscope -


Received Monday, 13 February 2006 11:15:00 GMT

PARIS, Feb 13, 2006 (AFP) - French doctors are to study the ashes of the 15th-century maiden-warrior Joan of Arc, who was burned at the stake aged 19, in a quest for new insight into her extraordinary life, a newspaper reported Monday.

"We are going to use remains said to have been gathered under her pyre, mainly bones and skin fragments, kept from generation to generation," Philippe Charlier, the doctor behind the project, told Le Parisien newspaper.

Over the next six months, experts will use medical and coroner's techniques to study the relics' biochemical and molecular make-up and toxicity, partly to date and authenticate them but also in hope of discovering new facts about the French heroine and Roman Catholic saint.

Born to a humble home in eastern France but inspired by what she believed to be divine voices, Joan of Arc (1412-1431) helped France to wrest the advantage back from England towards the end of the Hundred Years' War (1337-1453).

Her ashes -- preciously guarded by a French historical association and currently the property of Church authorities in Tours, east of Paris -- are the only remaining trace of her.

"In reality, we know hardly anything of Joan of Arc. We do not even have a drawing of her -- except an outline sketched at the bottom of a legal document," Charlier told Le Parisien.

"Even the armour attributed to her is actually largely posthumous," said Charlier, who was to reveal more details of the study's aims at a press conference near Paris on Monday.

Initially a figurehead who revealed herself as a true military leader, Joan of Arc led the French armies in lifting the English siege of Orleans in 1429, the first of a chain of swift victories that ended with the French dauphin's coronation as Charles VII.

Wounded in the battle for Paris, she was captured and sold to the English, to be convicted of heresy and burned at the stake in 1431, at the age of 19.

She was rehabilitated by the Catholic Church a quarter-century later, and canonised in 1920. . . .
I don't think it matters much. I mean how can you prove for certain it is her or not?
I think not
You beat me to the post Finder. And furthermore, who cares? If they do prove it's her they will put her ashes in a can and stick a label on it.
If anything they can prove it is not her by the date. but thats it.